Have you asked the question, “What we can learn from the life of John the Baptist?” If yes, then you came to the right place. In this blog, we are going to do our best to learn the lessons of his life.
John the Baptist is an amazing man. Miraculously conceived, he was set apart for a holy purpose from the womb of his mother. John’s life is an example of humility, zeal for God’s work, and passion for delivering the message of God to His people. However, John tragically died because of correcting a king.
Here are 10 lessons we can learn from the life of John the Baptist. These lessons are very much applicable today and should be taken seriously by every Christian.
Lesson no. 1: God’s prophecy will surely come to pass
The appearance of John the Baptist has long been prophesied in the Old Testament. The Bible tells us that God is the One who can declare a prophecy and has the power to bring it to pass even hundreds or thousands of years after proclaiming it.
Isaiah 40:3 foretold about the work of John:
“The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.”
And we read the fulfillment of this prophecy in Matthew 3:1-3:
“In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, and saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.”
(Please also see Malachi 4:5-6; Luke 1:11-17; Mark 1:2-5; Luke 3:2-6; and John 1:23)
From these fulfilled prophecies, we can have the confidence that God is truly the Living God who will do what He pleases. With these prophecies and many others fulfilled, we can be sure that the unfulfilled prophecies will also come to pass according to God’s perfect timing.
Lesson no. 2: God does the impossible to fulfill His purpose
John’s parents were well advanced in years. His parents were Zacharias and Elizabeth, both from the priestly family of Aaron. The Bible tells us that Elizabeth was barren and wasn’t able to bear a child.
One day, while Zacharias was burning incense in the Temple, an angel announced that He will have a child and this child should be set for a special purpose. (You can read the whole story of John’s miraculous birth in Luke 1:11-20; Luke 1:65.)
Here’s an interesting point: God usually works with barren women to give birth to a child whom He will use for His work. This shows us that it is not by our might, but by God’s power that we receive His promises. Remember Hannah and her son Samuel and the wife of Manoah and her son Samson? All of them were barren, and yet God opened their womb and bore a child.
God demonstrated here that He is the One who does great wonders and miracles. Sometimes, God causes women to conceive and shows everyone that He has caused it to happen. Therefore, any accomplishment that child will achieve in his life should give glory to God and all credit should come back to Him.
Lesson no. 3: We need to be zealous in doing God’s work
We read in Matthew 3:1-2 that John was very enthusiastic and motivated to preach the Kingdom of God.
“In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, and saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
Just like John the Baptist, we need to have the burning desire to preach the Gospel to this dying world. From his early life, John already knew what he needs to do. He made it his lifetime commitment to really put God’s work first in his life.
As Christians, we must make God’s work as our top priority. Though there are a lot of things that may distract us from our mission, we must have the vision and heart to stay on course and never let anything come between God and us.
Lesson no. 4: We must always be prepared
One of the primary missions of John was to prepare a people for the coming of the Messiah. By preaching about repentance and baptizing people in the water, John was fulfilling the work set before him right before his birth.
In the same way, it is our Christian duty to be prepared for the second coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus (Yahshua). We don’t have the guarantee that we will still be alive tomorrow, next week, next month, or next year. Thus, it is a must that we should be prepared anytime.
Not only that, but the signs of the end time are right before our eyes. Christ’s second coming is at hand, and we need to put our houses to ensure that we will be counted worthy to escape the great tribulation (Luke 21:36).
Lesson no. 5: Let Christ live in us
There’s one statement made by John the Baptist that we must all take heed. He said in John 3:30:
“He must increase, but I must decrease.”
This is the mindset that we must all have. We need to make sure that we are decreasing and Christ is increasing in us. We need to ask ourselves, “How much of ourselves have we really buried down the watery grave and how much of Christ is really living in us?”
Remember Galatians 2:20:
“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”
When we made a lifetime commitment through baptism, it is not us who no longer live. We are supposed to be dead already, and Christ should be the one who is now alive in us.
Lesson no. 6: Be not afraid to stand for what’s right
There’s no doubt that standing on the truth can bring you into trouble. This is certainly what happened to John the Baptist. He called sin a sin. He called it as it is. When King Herod married his brother’s wife, John did the right thing to do. He corrected the king for his sinful behavior.
For most of us, it might be tough to do what John has done. It took a lot of courage. Yes, doing the right thing can help you live a blessed life. However, there are times that it will surely get you into trouble.
After criticizing the king, he was imprisoned and ultimately executed. Should this stop us from doing the right thing? Of course, not! This should rather inspire us and be more resilient and brave even in the face of death.
Though John’s life heartbreakingly ended so soon, we know that he will be one of the kings and priests who will rule in the future Kingdom of God to be established here on earth (Rev. 5:10).
Lesson no. 7: Our good deeds should point to God and Christ
The story about John the Baptist is recorded in our Bible today. When we read about his life, we can see that the ministry of John the Baptist was pointing us to God and Christ. From the moment of his miraculous conception to the message and work he has done, John indeed magnified the power and love of our heavenly Father and our Brother, Jesus Christ. When he does something good, he didn’t do it to gain recognition or attain a higher social status. He did it all to the glory of God.
Lesson no. 8: Stay humble
John the Baptist had made an excellent reputation for himself. Jesus even considered him a great man. However, when it was time for Jesus to enter the scene, he was humble enough to step aside and let Christ’s ministry begin.
There was no power struggle, no argument, no ill-feeling or bitterness. There were only complete surrender and unpretentiousness.
John said in Matthew 3:11:
“I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire.”
We see from this passage the great humility of John. Carrying sandals was a task given to the lowliest of all slaves. Though he has already made a significant following, John didn’t even consider himself to be worthy to carry the sandals of Jesus.
John wasn’t jealous of Christ. For Him, his life is not important, and it was all about Christ. It was not about him. He didn’t feel any envy when people are starting to flock around Christ instead of him. He knew that his mission and that is to prepare the people for the coming of the Messiah.
Lesson no. 9: Our faith will surely be put to test
Most of us reading this blog might be living in a relatively peaceful area. Some of us might even be living an affluent life. Nothing to challenge our faith. However, bear this in mind; time will come that our faith will be tested to the limit. We read in I Peter 1:7:
“That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.”
God does not allow persecution and trials in our lives to prevent us from entering His Kingdom. He is doing it so that we can have the necessary godly character to rule with Christ and His saints.
Just like John whose faith was fiercely tested, we will also come to the point when everything will seem to be so challenging and impossible to overcome. However, we can have the confidence that God will surely be there with us to go through trials and persecution.
Lesson no. 10: John served as a good example to others
The godly character of John inevitably made him a good example to others. With zeal and passion in doing God’s work, people were drawn to praise and glorify God. Jesus said that John “was a burning and a shining light” (John 5:35). With this description, we can see that John was an excellent example of Christ’s commandment to be a light of the world. We read:
“Ye are the light of the world… Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:14, 16).
The life of John the Baptist is filled with lessons we can apply in our time. We need to take heed of them and ensure that we really understood what it means to live a life wholly dedicated to God. With this blog, I hope that you now know some of the best lessons we can learn from the life of John.
Here’s an interesting book about John the Baptist from Amazon. The title is The Life and Prayers of Saint John the Baptist by Wyatt North.